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The Last Patrol by James Dietz
The Last Patrol by James Dietz
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The Last Patrol by James Dietz

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Alongside their Iraqi Security Forces partners, Soldiers from the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division "Raiders" conduct a dismounted patrol in the streets of Western Baghdad in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 2009-10. Spearheading operations in Western Baghdad – an area often considered Iraq's "Center of Gravity" during the final chapter of OIF, the brigade partnered with the 6th and 9th Iraqi Army Divisions, 6th Brigade, 24th Federal Police Division and local Iraqi Police and Sons of Iraq to secure the people of Iraq and ensure a safe and secure March 7 National Election. Following a series of spectacular attacks in Baghdad during the summer of 2009, the brigade set to work with its Iraqi partners to train and develop new methodologies to identify, track and eliminate the terrorist threat. The raiders established Joint Operations Centers – demonstrating to Iraqi commanders the importance of command and control and having a unified effort, created an Exploitation Task Force – which incorporated proper evidence gathering techniques following a terrorist attack, and introduced the routine usage of Explosive Detection Dogs to traffic control points – a major accomplishment in a culture that greatly dislikes dogs. These combined efforts crippled AQI's network and resulted in the arrest of killing of several key terrorist leaders. Following these tremendous successes, the brigade had the rare and historic opportunity to be the lst combat brigade to leave Iraq after seven and a half years of war. In what became known as "The Last Patrol" the Raiders completed their combat mission in Baghdad and embarked on a 360 mile tactical road march to the Kuwaiti border, driving through the night to close the final chapter of Operation Iraqi Freedom and begin Operation New Dawn. "To The Objective!"